Brewers-Padres preview

SAN DIEGO -- Derek Norris hasn't heard anything concrete.

But he has heard the rumors. And given what the San Diego Padres have done the past couple of weeks, he knows anything is possible with general manager A.J. Preller.

In the last week alone, Preller has traded four key members of the Padres contingent -- outfielders Matt Kemp and Melvin Upton Jr. and starting pitchers Andrew Cashner and Colin Rea. Earlier, Preller traded starting pitchers James Shields and Drew Pomeranz and James Shields and closer Fernando Rodney.

Now there are rumors that Preller is looking to move Norris and a left-handed reliever or two before Monday's trading deadline. And one of the teams that is rumored to be interested in Norris is the Milwaukee Brewers, who happen to be opening a three-game series on Monday night at Petco Park.

The rumor goes that if the Brewers are able to get Jonathan Lucroy to agree to a trade out of Milwaukee, they might look toward Norris as his replacement.

"I've heard a lot of stuff," Norris said. "But there's really nothing to talk about."

It does appear that Norris could be one of the two clubhouses on Monday night when the Padres sent right-hander Jarred Cosart to the mound in a pitching matchup against Brewers right-hander Jimmy Nelson (6-9, 3.71 ERA).

There's just a question of which one.

And could Norris go from preparing to catch Cosart to doing a quick study on Nelson, who has pitched much better than his won-loss record this season.

"Jimmy's done a nice job putting us in position to win games," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said recently of the 6-foot-6, 250-pound 27-year-old who is headed toward a career high in innings pitched.

Monday night will be Nelson's 22nd start. Eleven of the first 21 were considered quality starts, tying Nelson with Wednesday afternoon's starter Junior Guerra for the team lead.

This will be the second time that Nelson has faced San Diego this season. The Padres defeated Nelson and the Brewers 3-0 on May 12 at Miller Park in Milwaukee. Nelson has a 1-2 career record against the Padres with a 1.83 ERA in three starts.

Meanwhile, Cosart will be making his debut as a Padre after coming to San Diego from Miami in the seven-player trade that sent Cashner and Rea to the Marlins. The Padres needed Cosart in return because the loss of Cashner and Rea ostensibly left the Padres with four starters with no one in their system ready to step into the void.

The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Cosart was 0-1 with a 5.95 ERA in four starts for the Marlins. But he spent most of this season at Triple-A New Orleans of the Pacific Coast League, where he was 3-4 with a 4.09 ERA in 10 starts. But he averaged only five innings in those starts.

"What we are offering the starters we've added is the opportunity to come in here and do the job," Green said recently. "We've brought in pitchers who we think have the stuff. Now it up to them to prove it."

The 26-year-old Cosart arrived Saturday in San Diego just in time to get in a bullpen session under the watchful eye of pitching coach Darren Balsley just two days before his Padres debut.

The only question is will Cosart be throwing to Norris the receiver or facing Norris the batter.